Powder Days in Verbier
18th January 2023
Last modified on January 24th, 2023
There are currently the best conditions of the season in the Swiss resort. We have been in and out of the powder as the conditions allow. Wednesday was the best.
I must say I felt like a child on Xmas Day as I flung open the curtains of my hotel room first thing in the morning.
I have been used to seeing snow after the past few days, but today there was something else.
Some blue sky.
My child-like feeling didn’t last too long as I took my seat on the ski bus.
But it certainly came back as I headed up the mountain towards Attelas and the powder.
Then it was straight into the powder in Lacs des Vaux.
I, and many others, have been dreaming of this moment for days.
We lapped the lift.
Then hit a few more favoured and well-known spots just to the side of the piste.
Fontenet was superb.
We had one eye on the Mont Gele cable car that gives access to some of the best off piste terrain in Verbier.
It has been shut for several days due to the snow and avalanche risk, but this was our lucky day.
The front side looked inviting.
At the top the views are simply stunning.
In the end we did the backside.
If truth be told it was a bit heavy and wind compressed.
It was also fairly chopped up.
But I wasn’t complaining.
And therein lies one of the secrets of skiing Verbier’s off piste – it is perhaps best to avoid the popular and well-known routes as they get tracked out quickly.
They are not always the best and there are so many pockets of powder around if you know where to go.
In my opinion Verbier has the best lift-accessible off piste and pockets of accessible powder skiing of any ski resort in the world.
But with an avalanche risk of Level 3 caution is required.
I am on a course with Warren Smith from the Warren Smith Ski Academy this week.
Here was his advice earlier:
Prior to today we had found some of those pockets as Warren passed on his off piste tips.
On Tuesday we skied one of the most famous itinerary runs in Verbier, Tortin (though it is actually called Chassoure – a bit like Lac Leman being called Lake Geneva).
We had actually been heading to the off piste route of Col de Mouche, but just as we reached the entrance there was a fresh and untracked powder field down Tortin that no-one had touched.
So, we abandoned the Col de Mouche plan.
Another secret for skiing Verbier’s off piste – have a plan but ditch it if a better option presents itself.
They usually do.
“I have been skiing in Verbier for 25-years and that was one of my top 5 runs on Tortin,” said Warren as he grinned from ear to ear with his jacket, goggles and helmet covered in light, white powder snow.
“That was proper powder skiing.”
I could only agree.
On Mont Fort we avoided the main route and went skiers right.
Again, another tip for Verbier – don’t always go the obvious way.
Thank You Verbier.
And Thank You Warren.
Oh, and we get to do it all over again tomorrow.
This time with the avalanche patrol.
I am fortunate to have been asked along with them first thing as they prepare the slopes, detonate avalanches where necessary and decide what opens and what does not after the heavy snow.
I can stay with them all day right through to the final sweep of the day if I want.
It should be an interesting day and I look forward to writing it all up.
Can’t say I am looking forward to a 6.30am start though.